Almost everyone is familiar with the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. The romantic tale of love, chivalry, heartbreak and betrayal is engrained in Western culture and this classic legend makes its triumphant debut on the Cumming Playhouse stage this summer as MG Baker Productions presents Broadway’s “Camelot.”
All the pageantry kicks off July 12 with shows running every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through Aug. 5.
Producer Marty Baker, who is no stranger to the Playhouse after having performed as an actor in 17 shows at the venue since 2010, is making his production debut with this show. He said he and director Gabe Russo chose “Camelot” because they wanted something that audiences would be familiar with and that would allow a stellar cast to show off their abilities.
“With my production company, I had three goals. First of all, to produce the highest-quality shows possible. Secondly, to have as many people attend the shows as possible, and lastly, it is very important to me that the cast be put first.
“This show allows for all of those things because it’s such a well-known show and our cast is outstanding,” Baker said. “This truly is the best cast I’ve ever been a part of. They are all not only amazing actors, but also amazing voices.
“Gabe and I have worked hard to make sure that the cast is put first in everything that we do, and that there is no waste of any of their time or talents.”
Based on the novel, “The Once and Future King” by T.H. White, Lerner and Loewe’s “Camelot” brings the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table to life with an extraordinary score and a story that poignantly dramatizes the human conflict at the heart of the classic tale.
The musical follows Arthur as he goes from a young, ambitious and idealistic king who dreams of creating a just society, to a despairing king who is forced to bear witness to his dream’s demise after his beloved queen, Guinevere, falls in love with his most trusted knight, Lancelot. Troubles are compounded when Arthur’s illegitimate son, Mordred, arrives on the scene.
The original 1960 production of “Camelot” ran on Broadway for 873 performances and won four Tony Awards. It spawned several revivals and productions in other countries, as well as the 1967 film by the same name starring Richard Burton.
Joel Altherer — who has appeared in several Playhouse shows, including most recently “Fiddler on the Roof” as lead, Tevye — dons the crown as King Arthur. He said this is one of the roles that he has dreamed of playing for many years.
“Seeing Richard Burton as King Arthur in the film version of ‘Camelot’ was a huge inspiration to me as a kid,” Altherer said. “It was really one of the performances that made me want to become an actor, so having a chance to play this iconic role is a great honor for me.”
Just as the film version inspired Altherer, Baker hopes this production of “Camelot” will delight Playhouse audiences.
“This is the perfect summer show because it brings back memories of a lot of the things we dreamt about as kids —sword fights, jousting, beautiful maidens, and magic,” he said. “It really is the perfect show for summertime, so we hope everyone will come and enjoy it.”
Tickets to “Camelot” are $30, or $27.50 for veterans, seniors 60 and over, students age 18 and under, and groups of 25 or more. They can be purchased at www.playhousecumming.com or by calling (770) 781-9178.